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Mov Disord. 2018 Aug;33(8):1331-1339. doi: 10.1002/mds.27391. Epub 2018 Mar 24.

6-n-propylthiouracil taste disruption and TAS2R38 nontasting form in Parkinson's disease.

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Neurology Service and Stroke Unit, A.O. Brotzu, Cagliari, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy.
University of Cagliari, Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health Cagliari, University of Cagliari, Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy.



The few studies that evaluated taste function in Parkinson's disease (PD) showed inconsistent results. The inherited ability to taste the bitter compound of 6-n-propylthiouracil has been considered to be a paradigm of general taste perception. 6-n-propylthiouracil taste perception is mediated by the TAS2R38 receptor, and reduced 6-n-propylthiouracil sensitivity has been associated with several diseases not typically related to taste function.


We evaluated the 6-n-propylthiouracil taste perception and the TAS2R38 gene as genetic risk factors for the development of idiopathic PD in PD patients and healthy controls (HC).


The 6-n-propylthiouracil taste perception was assessed by testing the responsiveness, and the ability to recognize, 6-n-propylthiouracil and sodium chloride. The participants were classified for 6-n-propylthiouracil taster status and genotyped for the TAS2R38 gene.


A significant increase in the frequency of participants classified as 6-n-propylthiouracil nontasters and a reduced ability to recognize bitter taste quality of 6-n-propylthiouracil were found in PD patients when compared with healthy controls. The results also showed that only 5% of PD patients had the homozygous genotype for the dominant tasting variant of TAS2R38, whereas most of them carried the recessive nontaster form and a high number had a rare variant.


Our results show that 6-n-propylthiouracil taster status and TAS2R38 locus are associated with PD. The 6-n-propylthiouracil test may therefore represent a novel, simple way to identify increased vulnerability to PD. Moreover, the presence of the nontasting form of TAS2R38 in PD may further substantiate that disease-associated taste disruption may represent a risk factor associated with the disease. © 2018 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.


PROP taster status; TAS2R38 bitter receptor; human; nonmotor symptoms


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